Call: The Mutual Shaping of Human-Robot Interaction – International Journal of Social Robotics issue

Call for Papers

International Journal of Social Robotics
Special Issue: The Mutual Shaping of Human-Robot Interaction
Submission deadline: January 31, 2018


The field of robotics has rapidly advanced over the last decades and has shown great promises in different fields. Robots were introduced in industry decades ago, and nowadays, robotic systems support humans as assistants, team-mates, caretakers, and companions, in diverse contexts such as education, health and eldercare, the home, retail, and in search and rescue. Discussions of the emotional, psychological, ethical, and societal consequences of these developments have emerged alongside technical advances.

Studies in human-robot interaction have shown that, when robots enter different contexts of our everyday lives, they influence and change those contexts beyond their intended use purpose alone. Social scientists have referred to this process as “mutual shaping” of technology and society. Mutual shaping implies that technological and societal developments do not proceed in parallel, or in a linear progression from technological development to societal application, but rather that technology and society continuously influence and (re)shape each other. Society changes as a direct and indirect result of the implementation of technology, which itself is created based on society’s (or a particular segment of society’s) wants, needs, beliefs, and practices. The mutual shaping of technology and society approach focuses on analyzing how social and cultural factors influence the way technologies are designed, implemented, used, and evaluated, as well as how technologies affect our construction of social values and meanings.

The decisions made in the design, adoption, implementation use, and evaluation process of robots affect people’s attitudes towards, uses of, and even their conceptualizations of these (socially) interactive systems. Social norms, values and morals are both implicitly and explicitly intertwined with technologies, reinforcing or altering our beliefs and practices. Once a robot has entered a social context, it may alter the distribution of responsibilities and roles within that context as well as how people act in that context. Research needs to explore how use practices of robot systems and the social environment mutually shape each other, and what form this mutual shaping process takes. Such studies are crucial for the future development and implementation of robots for broad societal use and for the design and acceptance of new and existing robot systems.


The aim of this special issue is to collect an overview of theoretical and empirical state-of-the-art research contributions on lessons learned about the mutual shaping of robots and society. Therefore, the International Journal of Social Robotics invites researchers from the many disciplines and approaches that intersect with the development and evaluation of robot systems (e.g. human-robot interaction, human-computer interaction, human factors, engineering, computer sciences, (interactive) design, sociology, communication science, anthropology, psychology, etc.) to submit to this Special Issue.

We invite a diversity of topics from researchers and practitioners from a wide variety of fields focusing on how social factors affect whether people choose to use robots, and (or) how robot design factors affect the social contexts in which robots are used. Topics include (but not limited to):

  • Human-robot (non)adoption and (non)use
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Mutual shaping of robots and society
  • Evaluation of robot applications and contexts of use
  • Socially intelligent robotics
  • Multimodal assessment technologies
  • Design of robotics systems
  • Social analysis of robotics
  • Social cognitive systems

To submit your paper, login to the journal’s editorial system:

When submitting your papers, please select the option “SI: The Mutual Shaping of Human-Robot Interaction” from the “Choose article type” pull-down menu.

A general description of the International Journal of Social Robotics, its aims and scope, and authors’ submission guidelines can be found here:

Please submit the journal manuscripts by January 31, 2018.

The Editorial Board is committed to speedy review, fast publication, and high scientific impact.

Guest Editors
Somaya Ben Allouch – Saxion University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Maartje De Graaf – Brown University, USA
Selma Šabanović – Indiana University, USA
Friederike Eyssel – Bielefeld University, Germany


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